I sympathize so hard with this Heroine…
When a Stranger Comes…by Karen S. Bell is a Psychological Thriller.
A lightning bolt
out-of the blue, on an otherwise sunny afternoon, transports author Alexa
Wainwright to an alternate universe where the characters from her novels are
given the breadth of life. Having just made a vow that she would do whatever it
took to once again achieve the international acclaim of her debut novel, Alexa
doesn’t realize how ominously that vow would be tested. In this altered reality,
she’s introduced to media mogul King Blakemore who offers her an extremely
lucrative book contract with guarantees that her work will become a
best-selling blockbuster. Given his appearance, odd mannerisms, and aura of
evil Alexa wonders if King Blakemore might be the Devil himself.
At first, she shrugs off her doubts about this peculiar publisher and very lucrative book deal offer because the temptation of riches and refound fame is too strong. Suddenly, the contract’s been signed. Now what can she do? Alexa realizes she’s trapped in an underworld of evil from which she desperately wants to escape. Her iron-clad book contract changes its wording whenever she thinks of a loophole and King always seems one step ahead of her. Desperate to get her life back, she devises schemes to untether herself from this hellish existence to no avail. She laments the old adage, Be careful what you wish for.
Buy this book if you’re a reader who loves a page-turning, heart-stopping, psychological thriller with some magical realism thrown in.
“Hi, my darling.”
“Mom! Hi! Where are you?”
“Well, I can’t really tell you. Top secret location and all that,” she says laughing. “I tried to call a few minutes ago but couldn’t get through. Bad signal. Damn cell phones.”
“Is the research going well?”
“Better than expected. The additional funding has been approved and I get to stay and play for a few more weeks, maybe longer. I must say, the work here is so exciting. We’re finding some very interesting things about dark matter. All of us are psyched about making major advances in this field. Might solve all the mysteries of the universe,” she says laughing, “but we have to do it before the funding runs out. What a crazy business. And how about you? I’m glad you finally finished that book. I know it was a hard one for you. Emotionally, that is.”
“How’d you know I finished it? I haven’t spoken to you in a while.”
“You know, one of my silly dreams. I see big things with this one darling. But be careful.”
“Be careful? Why be careful?”
“Not quite sure. Just a feeling. Big successes sometimes come with drawbacks, as you are well aware. Anyway,” she laughs again, “you’ve been warned, so be alert. By the way, has Jerry called you?”
“Well, if he does, tell him I’ll call him in the next few days and send him kisses. Gotta go now, darling. I’ll call soon. Love you. And remember, just be careful.”
Jerry was my mother’s most recent beau. No one can call her because of security. Also, due to the delicate aspect and precision of the work, none of the scientists wanted to be disturbed by ringing phones. When she wasn’t at the observatory she was asleep. So she made all the calls and everyone respected that, even me. This latest project was top secret because it was funded by NASA, the results solely owned by the agency. It was kind of fun thinking of my mother as a NASA scientist involved in a high stakes game.
Maybe she was really at Area 51 interviewing aliens. I pictured the aliens looking at my mother with awe and wonder. She’s tiny, only about 5 feet, like the grays, those big-eyed aliens of myth and legend, but she wears dangerously high heels to disguise her height. Her blazing red hair is cropped short and her enormous blue eyes, aided by colored contacts, are mesmerizing and make her appear touched by the gods. She’s a curvy size 6 with ample breasts and can pull off wearing body conscious clothing of tight jeans and boob hugging tops. No stodgy scientist attire for her even at her age, which she won’t tell me.
I assume she’s at least in her late-40’s or early-50’s because I’m 31. Sometime ago, I found a hard to read birth certificate but she told me it was fake. So her exact age remains a mystery. With limitless energy and a magnetic personality, she attracts all within her purview. In articles written about her, she has been described as a fireball, a force to be reckoned with, a dynamo, and so on. I’ve tried to capture her essence, her vitality, to own it for myself, but alas, I never could. The genetic pool of my DNA must favor my father, whom I have never met or even seen in photos. I would have loved to be a red head and have her coloring, but my hair is nearly black and so are my eyes. No one would describe me as petite at 5 feet 7 inches and although I’m slender, I can’t get my butt into her jeans or walk for very long on the circus clown stilts that she calls heels and wears even when home.
“Coffee and sandwiches are ready,” Margaret calls from the kitchen.
I waddle into the kitchen, still in my bathrobe and slippers and grab a sandwich and almost swallow it whole without chewing. I realize that I haven’t eaten since yesterday, my absorption into grammar, style, and usage being my sole focus. It will be a relief to hand it off to Margaret. Even with her meshugas, Yiddish for craziness, her input will be invaluable. Margaret watches me wolf down the food and sits down with me at the kitchen table in the breakfast nook of my chef’s kitchen. The kitchen has all the current trends in design with its concrete countertops, stainless steel Miele appliances, and multi-colored mosaic glass tile backsplash. The rage. It opens to the living room/dining room combo where the untouched packet can be seen still on the coffee table from the week before and it still looks…sinister.
About the Author
I get so much satisfaction in the writing process. I take care to choose just the right word, to make sure each sentence has the right cadence. I appreciate other writers who respect the craft in this way, and I hope my readers do so with me. Writing is a need, a desire for expression, and springs from well within my subconscious mind. Thoughts rise up, scenes rise up and blend in with the over-arching story. These thoughts emerge whenever they want to and wherever I am and probably not when I am at the computer. The computer is for the craft, the technique. The thoughts come during walks, or while driving the car, or at the grocery store. I am the willing recipient of these thoughts and so they seek me out. It’s a mystery this business and art of writing and it keeps me enthralled.
My advice for new authors
by Karen S. Bell
Write for the love of it. If you are set on making a living at it get admitted to the best writing programs at the best universities. Work the connections you make there. For the rest of us that can’t do that or who started writing after college like me, don’t quit your jobs, or live with someone who is willing to pay all the bills. I guess if you have the money and time go to writing conferences, I didn’t, so you can try to build connections with agents. Agents are looking for blockbusters or aren’t looking for new clients so having connections is key. There is a deluge of writer’s out there competing for the limited audience of readers who will take a chance on an unknown, who happen to read your genre, who read at all. Name recognition comes with big marketing expenditures if you self-publish. Some get lucky and get a following. But if they don’t have the writing chops, it doesn’t last.
So try and be touched by the gods or just enjoy the process. I’ve written three books that most people haven’t read. I will probably be unknown for my entire writing experiment. But who knows? Maybe after I’m dead I’ll hit it big because as long as Amazon is in business my books will be for sale.
- $15 Amazon
- ebook of Walking with Elephants – 1 winner each
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